The HealthPost blog is a comprehensive, free resource full of quality information about natural health, skincare, vitamins, dietary supplements and general health and well-being. The content in this blog is authored by our in-house team of health professionals or carefully selected experts from amongst our suppliers and other partners.
1. Cover cashew nuts with filtered water and set aside for 5 hours or overnight (this makes for a smoother/creamier filling).
2. Cover dates with hot water and let soften for approximately 10-15 minutes.
3. Once dates are softened add to food processor with remaining base ingredients and pulse until well combined.
4. Press base mix into the bottom of a lined slice tin and refrigerate.
5. Meanwhile drain and rinse the soaked cashews and add to a high-speed blender with remaining filling ingredients. Blend on high until a smooth mousse like texture is reached.
6. Pour the filling over base and spread evenly. Place into the freezer for 1 hour.
7. For the icing, melt coconut oil in a small pan on low heat with rice malt syrup. Sift in cacao and combine. Let cool slightly and then pour over filling. Place back into the freezer for another 30 minutes until set.
8. This slice can be stored and enjoyed from the freezer – take out and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Note: Cut slice with a sharp, warmed knife.
Children are notorious for their love of sharing all things germy, and whilst this can be beneficial in building a healthy immune system, supporting their immune function with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can support recovery from winter ills and chills.
Children typically come down with ills and chills 3 to 8 times per year and these can last up to 10 days. If your child is struggling to recover, specific nutrients, along with good hygienic habits, can help.
Giving little immune systems a nutrient boost!
Your child’s immune system is like an army whose job it is to fight off immune threats. Some of the most important soldiers in this army are immune cells called T-cells and B-cells. A number of key nutrients can help support these T- and B-cells and ensure they are primed and ready to recognise, remember, and fight off ills and chills.
• B Vitamins play a pivotal role in the production of energy and are essential for healthy growth and development. This important family of vitamins are essential in immune function and support the function of T-cells
• Vitamin C supports the activity of T- and B-cells therefore supporting all round immune function when its needed most. Supplementation with vitamin C has actually been shown to help reduce the duration of winter ills and chills.
• Vitamin D is best known for playing an important role in bone growth and development, however this crucial nutrient also supports the immune system’s response to threats.
• Vitamin E will assist your child to boost resistance.
• Betacarotene is converted into Vitamin A within the body and is an antioxidant which helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
• Calcium is best known as a mineral needed for bone and teeth mineralisation, but it is also important in energy production and maintaining immune health.
• Zinc has an important role to play in growth and development and is also involved in normal immune responses. In particular zinc is critical for the development and functioning of T- and B- immune cells. Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity and also duration of ills and chills.
• Iron is vital for energy production, growth, and for the production of T- and B- immune cells
• Bioflavonoids are key nutrients derived from citrus fruits that have strong antioxidant properties Thompson’s Junior Immunofort ‘Power of 5’ formula provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and superfoods, in a great-tasting, chewable tablet, to help support little immune systems. Shop now on our secure online store.
Meet Lucy, HealthPost Executive Director, daughter to founder Linley, mum to Isla and Leo, and self-confessed natural product addict! Read along as Lucy shares with us each month exciting happenings at HealthPost, our progress towards creating a better world, and some musings on how she and her family strive towards living a naturally healthy life.
The Christchurch Mosque attacks in March have been cause for soul-searching for all of us. Like the rest of the country, we’re still reeling.
As a diverse, 100-strong organisation committed to having a positive impact on the wellbeing of people and the planet, we’ve been challenged to express two touchstone values – show we care and build trust – in deeper ways. What does it really mean to practice inclusiveness? How can we approach every human interaction with an open heart? Where must we, as individuals and as a business, show more courage and leadership in living by our convictions? There is no single answer to any of these questions of course, but we’ve taken heart in being part of the collective outpouring of care in our community.
Our beautiful team spread across both South and North Islands have found many ways to channel their distress into positive action. By coming together, first to talk and then, with the rest of Aotearoa, in silence. By asking each other ‘how are you?’ in the lunchroom and listening attentively, answering honestly. It feels more important than ever to be kind and gentle with each other, responding to terror with love and authenticity.
Special thanks to Carrie and the New Lynn crew who organised 50 flower plants to commemorate the victims, inviting local people and businesses in this diverse neighbourhood to come together and collect a plant to tend in remembrance and solidarity. Creating a connection with the local mosque to foster cross-cultural and inter-faith understanding is also an important step. We’re raising funds for Victim Support through our Better World programme – simply select the cause following your order and we will give $1 – at no extra cost to you. The ripples of care from all corners have brought us together in a heartfelt embrace of the contribution we all can and must make to the creation of a better world.
It’s now officially 30 years since Mum started HealthPost back in 1988. From selling her orange VW beetle to raise capital and running the business from the kitchen table, to now – two office locations, one Auckland store, and over 100 staff members! What an incredible journey it’s been, and WOW how we’ve grown.
We’re honoured to have some customers who’ve been with us for the whole ride. This level of trust and loyalty inspires us to continually look for new ways to help people live naturally healthy lives. While our rapidly changing world presents plenty of challenges, it also provides ample opportunities to be better. 2018 has been a year of consolidating and making some great additions to our talented team. This will flow into some exciting improvements in customer experience in the New Year. We’re also really pleased to be currently trialling paperbased packaging. Like many things, the quest for the most sustainable solution proved far more complex than it first appeared. While there’s always compromise, we did our research and feel confident that we’re pursuing the best option currently available. Check out our journey on the back page and let us know what you think. Our boxes are about to take on a bunch more personality too, so stay tuned.
With Conservation Week in September, it’s time for an update on the Wharariki-Onetahua Restoration, a partnership between the Farewell Wharariki HealthPost Nature Trust and the Department of Conservation and iwi to create an eco-sanctuary at the tip of the South Island. Onetahua (Farewell Spit) and Wharariki are iconic tourist destinations, and the area is also home to a number of rare bird, lizard, insect and plant species. Unsurprisingly, predator control is a critical issue. We’ve had remarkable success with our stoat trapping efforts to protect shorebirds in particular. Aotearoa has five of the world’s most endangered shorebirds – quite a responsibility – and the number of stoats caught indicates just how much work there is yet to be done. Planting and protecting habitat has been another focus of the restoration project to date.
Thanks to all who’ve selected the Farewell Wharariki HealthPost Nature Trust after placing an order with us, we’ll keep you posted as this important project develops.
When it comes to our bubs (and Leo, my youngest at 2, now considers himself firmly out of the baby category!) caring for their delicate skin with natural products is really important to me. I go for super-simple products from trusted local companies, like Tui Baby Balm and BioBalance Certified Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. Weleda’s White Mallow range also works wonders and I’ll happily slather any of these products on my own skin too!
With the rigours of parenting small children, your skin is often the least of your worries. On that note, we’re pleased to support Dayspring Maternal Health through our Better World donation programme this month. Dayspring provides specialised parenting support, counselling and life skill programmes to women who need it most.
Keeping mums and babies well has been a theme for us of late. Based on your selections, our May donation to the Himalayan Trust funded much-needed medical equipment and training for maternal and neo-natal health in the remote Nepalese community of Bung. Thank you for making this possible!
Winter is a beautiful season, but moving between cold air and heated offices calls for extra skin nourishment. I’m a fan of using high quality oils and always have a few HealthPost essentials on hand when my skin needs it. One of my favourites for face and hair is BioBalance Certified Organic Argan Oil. This is a pure gem of a product, capable of keeping skin beautiful in the harsh climes of Morocco, where it’s sourced from a women’s cooperative. See ethical business in action – check out the inspiring video.
One of our core values is to show we care, for our customers, our planet and each other. Recently, our Collingwood-based Dispatch Team have been tackling the amount of plastic coming into our premises in the form of packaging. They’ve solved the logistical challenge of getting soft plastics recycled in our remote location, and we’re now working with the local supermarket and the Council to make this recycling available to the wider community. The team will also be working with our suppliers to reduce the amount of soft plastics used in the future. Dispatch have been flat-out getting your parcels packed, as always, but improving our environmental performance is seen by the team as integral to what we do, not an optional extra.
We’re stoked that our Good Ingredients Promise has prompted some of our suppliers to commit to removing less-than-ideal ingredients from their formulations. Our Promise also means no micro-beads, of course, and the NZ-wide ban coming into effect this month is most welcome! Small steps, but it is exciting to feel that we can be part of some positive change.
When it comes to digestion, I’m a bit obsessed with fermenting, and will wax lyrical about sourdough if anyone shows an interest (and send them away with some starter culture). My sourdough starter is practically a pet to me – it has lived in my fridge for years, and it sulks if I forget to feed it. My kids get involved in the weekly bread-baking ritual, messy but fun, and if they fight over who gets to stir I remind them that, like all living things, it rises better with a little love.
Our Collingwood team ready to send away our first lot of soft plastics to be recycled.
As more holistic knowledge about hormonal health comes into the mainstream, the conversation moves beyond menstruation and mood swings to reveal the amazing hormonal dance that connects every system in our bodies.
Balancing hormones is a fine art. I’m no expert, but there are a few things I do for hormonal health that don’t have a downside. Looking after my liver by eating loads of green veges and detoxing herbs like dandelion and kawakawa is something I do daily. The young dandelion plants weeded out of the garden are delicious once your palette adjusts!
Avoiding potentially endocrine-disrupting chemical perfumes is made easier by our Good Ingredients Promise, and this makes sense to me. Minimising plastics, by using glass or stainless steel instead, and making food from scratch wherever possible is also something I do for overall self-care and balance. This is obviously a win for the environment too!
Unfortunately, most industries are riddled with plastics, and ours is no exception. As a small step in the right direction, we now have soft plastics and recycling bins available at our New Lynn store for our Auckland customers to recycle their product packaging. It’s great to be part of a team that’s so committed to learning to do things better, together.
Kiwis seem to have an affinity with the humble feijoa, and at this time of year our kids are always wandering up to the orchard, eating loads and getting a great dose of pre-winter vitamin C and some precious sunshine in the process. What a tree – producing a bounty of immune-boosting fruit at the perfect time, on the back of virtual neglect! Stay tuned for a delicious feijoa crumble recipe coming up on the blog, and a bunch of timely natural immunity tips this month.
Empowering positive wellbeing choices is what we’re about, and we so admire the work done by Days for Girls, our April Charity of the Month. This amazing network of volunteers sew reusable menstrual kits for girls in developing countries, so they can continue to attend school and be active in their communities all month long. Super practical and environmentally-friendly, these colourful kits and the accompanying education also help break down the silence and shame surrounding female cycles. Go girls!
Staying up-beat and on-top-of-things seems to depend on working out what really nourishes us and stokes our energy, which is individual and not always obvious.
Diet, exercise and sleep are the well-accepted ‘big three’ for general well-being of course. But to be truly firing, I need to feel a sense of purpose and connectedness that goes beyond the physical.
To have great energy I need to keep a sense of inner connection rather than getting totally caught up in my to-do list. This in turn requires solitude. As grateful as I am for all the wonderful people in my life, without some alone time, everything else seems to lose its shine. So, solitude gets scheduled in the diary twice a week, and it revolutionizes my energy. For you, it might be something completely different. But I do believe that feeling part of something bigger than ourselves, whatever form this takes, is the best stress-buster.
While chronic stress is obviously to be avoided, one-off stressful events can show us a depth of resiliency in ourselves and others that is truly humbling. We were reminded of this recently when ex-Cyclone Gita struck Golden Bay, closing the only road out. What followed was a triumph of teamwork and amazing community spirit which reinforced for us why we love being based in this special place.
With the help of NZ Post and others, we were able to continue getting orders – and our team member, Nick, rushing to the birth of his son in Nelson – out by helicopter, keeping delivery delays to a minimum. Thank you to our caring customers for all the messages of support we received during this time – you helped keep morale high despite the challenges!
The HealthPost Team loading orders into the Helicopter
As the year ramps up, with work and school routines now back in full swing, I find myself looking for small ways to keep the summer holiday vibe alive.
Lately I’ve been playing with bringing more presence into busy days with some simple practices or rituals. They need to be doable no matter how crammed the day feels, like finishing my morning shower with a minute of cold on full blast. This is apparently great for the circulation, and I certainly feel alive afterwards, but I love it because it reminds me of throwing myself in the ocean on a hot day.
Another practice that I’m enjoying is putting my legs up the wall (any wall, even while reading bedtime stories if necessary!) for five or ten minutes every evening. Calming and restorative, this ends the day on just the right note. My next challenge is to bring more mindfulness to mealtimes, which with small children feels near impossible, but we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted!
One of the broader happenings that fills me with optimism this year is the increasing number of people seeing wellness as a shared journey. While self-care (as above!) is crucial to being able to give our best to the world, wellness is always bigger than the individual. It is integrally connected to the health of our communities and the beautiful planet we all inhabit.
On that note, we are proud to support WWF this month in their efforts to protect one of Aotearoa’s taonga, the Māui dolphin, and ensure that only dolphin-safe fishing takes place in our waters. We are also delighted by the heartening feedback from our customers and business partners on our new Good Ingredients Promise. Thank you for being with us on this journey of learning how to do things better, together.
People flock to Golden Bay at this time of year. Curious campers pull into the HealthPost car park to find out why there is so much activity in a rural area, off a one lane gravel road. While we are always reaching outwards – delivering NZ products globally, and bringing the world’s best to NZ – we do so from a strong sense of our particular place in the world. The blessings, challenges and responsibilities that come with our tūrangawaewae.
Take the pilot whales that pass through our seas in the summer months for example, often stranding en masse at Farewell Spit. Recently, our friends at Project Jonah trained more of our team, myself included, as Marine Mammal Medics. Hopefully the whales will pass safely this summer and we won’t need to put these new skills into practice, but it’s good to know that we can confidently lend a hand.
If I have a personal resolution for 2018 it is to embrace every opportunity to learn, and life never seems to be short of learning. As a family, we’re resolved to continue our process of weeding yet more packaged food from our pantry, to reduce both our plastic waste and our intake of hydrogenated oils and refined carbs. It’s an obvious win-win, but we’ve still got a way to go.
I hope that this new year brings us all plenty of opportunities to be alive in our senses, celebrating and connecting with the land that nourishes us and supports everything we do.
Project Jonah Training with the HealthPost Team.
December is a time of celebrating achievements and contemplating improvements for the coming year. In 2017 we’ve been consciously building on the trust that we’ve established in over 29 years in natural health.
Our goal is to be the most trusted source of natural products in New Zealand, and we take your trust seriously. We introduce to you our Good Ingredients Promise – a promise that anything you buy from HealthPost meets natural, environmental and ethical standards.
You can buy with confidence, knowing we’ve done the hard work, and that every HealthPost choice is better for you and better for the world. We’re proud to be setting the benchmark for integrity in natural health in New Zealand and beyond. And we’re committed to being a driving force for positive change. For more, see our Good Ingredients Promise.
Thank you to everyone – customers, suppliers, charities, businesses partners and the wider community – who works with us towards a better world.
We hope that this year has brought you plenty to celebrate, and we wish you a healthful and heartfelt festive season.
It is around now that I start dreaming of spontaneous weekend camping trips, picnics, travel and the other adventures that the summer has in store. And I do a quick stock-take of our summer first aid kit to make sure that the natural products I rely on to keep us comfortable in the outdoors and on the road, are ready to go.
Here are some of my perennial favourites, plus some great newbies I’ve been sampling from our range recently:
First up, I make sure the sunscreen is sorted (always a good idea to check the expiry on last summer’s tube). We try to keep the kids covered up or in the shade during fierce sun rather than constantly slathering them in sunblock but when we hit the beach, sunscreen is a must.
We always have a tub of Tui Bug Balm on hand. This is a totally natural, essential oil based product by another Golden Bay company with heaps of integrity. I have great associations with the smell from summers past! You need to re-apply regularly but I’d rather choose that over the chemicals any day.
A new addition this summer will be the Woohoo Deodorant Paste we’ve just discovered. This stuff is seriously effective and won’t leak in your luggage. I won’t be going anywhere without it!
Here’s to a happy and relaxed summer just around the corner.
We hope you’re enjoying an upsurge of fresh spring energy powering you through all that you want to accomplish this season.
Here at HealthPost, we see individual wellness as integrally connected to the health of the natural environment and the broader community. As Plato observed: “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” And we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves. One of the ways we put this belief into action is through our Better World donation program, which has given more than $800,000 to a range of worthy causes in Aotearoa and beyond.
You may have noticed that a new charity has appeared in the Better World donation selection recently. The Farewell Spit HealthPost Nature Trust is a long-term conservation partnership between HealthPost and the Department of Conservation to restore and enhance the biodiversity of the extraordinary Farewell Spit region of Golden Bay.
Farewell Spit is an internationally recognised area for red knots, godwits and other wading..
BioBalance is proud to be New Zealand and Australia’s first supplement to achieve B Corp status, which is something to shout about! This means that they’re committed (and accountable) to being better and a force for change, in the ways that truly matter for the world. There are over 2,500 Certified B Corporations from more than 150 industries in 60+ countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business.
What is “B Corp” and what does it mean? A B Corp Certification assesses the overall positive impact of a company, not just it’s product or service. Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of social, environmental performance, transparency and accountability to balance profit and purpose. They are businesses who are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more sustainable economy. Unlike traditional corporations, they are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders, for example their workers, suppliers, community, consumers, and the environment.
Society’s most challenging problems can’t be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.
This official B Corp certification helps BioBalance differentiate from pretenders, benchmark performance, save money and access services, as well as attract investors, partner with peers, and recruit and engage talent. And, it helps the wider marketplace see that there is ample opportunity to do well (financially) by doing good (for people and the planet)!
B Corp Anthem - B The Change - YouTube
What do companies have to do to get B Corp certification? In order to become certified, a company must do the following:
1) Meet the Performance Requirement: Companies must complete the B Impact Assessment, which is a comprehensive audit of a company’s practices and policies. The company must earn a minimum score of 80 out of 200 points.
2) Meet the Legal Requirement: Adopt the B Corporation Legal Framework to bake the triple bottom line mission of the company into its legal DNA. This allows the company’s values to thrive under new management, new investors, and new ownership.
3) Make it Official: Sign a Term sheet and Declaration of Interdependence to make the certification official.
What does this mean for customers? You’ll still be getting the same high quality, effective and affordable supplements that BioBalance is known for, but you can be absolutely assured that everyone behind the scenes is supported. With a global seal of approval, you can know that BioBalance is a force for good in the world.
We’re proud to support BioBalance and thrilled to announce this achievement. Shop online now for BioBalance high quality and B Corp approved products.
For a better world, it’s important to choose sustainably sourced fish. In NZ the most sustainable sources of EPA & DHA are anchovies, blue mackerel, pilchards and marine microalgae. (According to NZ Forest & Bird Best Fish Guide 2017)
What’s the difference between EPA and DHA? EPA and DHA work together, both are important for the health of cells in the brain, joint, eye, heart and blood vessels.
DHA is particularly important for brain health and function. The body uses EPA to support healthy balance of prostaglandin chemical messengers. EPA helps the body to broadcast good messages to support healthy tissue.
What are EPA & DHA important for?
DHA makes up 20% of our grey matter.
• Fetal and childhood neural development and mental focus
• Mental clarity and focus throughout the lifespan
• Mood and emotional well-being
• Maintenance of cognitive function in old age
The optic nerve is made of the same tissue as the brain.
• Eye growth and development
• Visual acuity, healthy ageing of cells in our eyes
• Fluidity of cells and membranes in the eye
• Coronary vessels that supply oxygen to the heart
• Healthy blood pressure
• Healthy triglycerides levels
• Healthy HDL and LDL cholesterol ratios
Joint health depends on EPA for healthful messages.
• Joint tissue health
EPA & DHA are also important for supporting healthy blood sugar balance and maintenance of healthy skin condition for positive ageing.
Eating plenty of beautiful, colourful fruit and veges will supply protective plant chemicals to support tissue health in these areas too.
At HealthPost, as our contribution to a better world, all our Omega 3 supplements are certified sustainable and comply with our strict Marine Sustainability policy.
Although fish are a dietary source of Omega 3 fatty acids, fish do not synthesize them; they obtain them from the algae (microalgae in particular) that they eat. For people who prefer plant based options, or want to avoid fish, BioBalance High Strength Vegan Omega 3 is now available.
This high strength, vegan omega 3 supplement derived from marine microalgae provides 100% of your recommended daily intake and has added vitamin D3 to support mood and a healthy immune system.
Our customer ambassador, Je T’aime Hayr, talks about aged Kyolic garlic, and why it’s the new supplement she’s keeping on hand before winter hits.
Like most people, I love the flavour that garlic adds to my meals. But, as we head into the cooler seasons and the kids start coming home from day-care with runny noses, I think it’s a good time to step up my supplement game. After all, having to look after two sniffly kids when I am also under the weather is no fun at all.
Garlic packs a flavourful punch Garlic is a highly nutritious plant in the Allium (onion) family and is closely related to onions, shallots and leeks. It has been used throughout history for its health properties and now some studies are suggesting that those ancient civilisations were onto something. Garlic’s strong taste is a wonderful addition to enliven most savoury dishes, particularly warming winter soups and stir fry sauces. I like to press a few cloves of fresh garlic with a garlic press, then mix it with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and drizzle it over freshly steamed vegetables, or over chopped vegetables before roasting with a few sprigs of rosemary.
However, here’s where things get tricky… The key compound responsible for garlic’s health-boosting effects is called ‘allicin’ and it breaks down quickly when exposed to heat. So, the best way to get garlic into your diet is to eat it raw in salsa, homemade dressings and pesto. But that can be harsh on your stomach and, let’s be honest, it’s also a tad pongy on the breath. Hence, if you really want to commit to getting plenty of allicin in your diet, a supplement is an easy, convenient and odourless (hoorah!) way to go about it.
The many health benefits of garlic Some studies suggest that garlic supplements may help to protect from seasonal ills and chills. Research from one 12-week study showed that garlic supplements may support the immune system and normal healthy recovery from ills and chills. And anything that helps me get back to work as quickly as I can is a plus in my books. Garlic supplements have also been shown to support heart health, artery function and normal blood pressure, as well as help to support healthy cholesterol levels. Plus, garlic is rich in antioxidants that may help to protect against cell damage as we get older.
Why choose aged garlic extract Speaking of getting older, much like a fine wine, the health benefits of garlic get better with age. In the 1950s, a German professor named Dr Eugene Schnell discovered that putting fresh garlic through a natural ageing and fermentation process produced a milder, odour-free substance containing stable sulfur-containing amino acids such as S-allyl cysteine (SAC). These amino acids play a key role in the effects of Aged Garlic Extract.
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is the result of organically grown garlic cloves that have been harvested, quality tested, cleaned, sliced and placed in stainless steel tanks, where they’re naturally aged under controlled conditions for up to 20 months. The aged garlic is then extracted, concentrated and dried. We haven’t hit winter, so I can’t vouch for it yet, but given the vast number of positive consumer reviews I’m hoping this supplement will help over the winter months. The capsules are easy to swallow and they don’t cause garlic breath. Phew. I plan to take one a day as maintenance and then increase the dose up to three capsules at the first sign of a runny nose or scratchy throat.
Article by Je t’aime Hayr, HealthPost customer ambassador
A self-confessed ‘Green Smoothie Queen’, Je t’aime loves to write about health, wellness and eco-living, and has not-so-secret hopes that her words may help to ‘save the world’ while inspiring people to live their best life. She lives in Auckland with her partner and their two boisterous twin boys, and when she’s not busy writing or wrangling her toddlers, you’ll probably find her dancing, at the gym or unwinding on her shakti mat while reading one of the many books she has on the go.
Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a healthy diet. HealthPost, Collingwood.
The notion of ‘natural beauty’ inspires thoughts of clear, radiant, youthful-looking skin. But what exactly does this phrase mean?
Natural skincare and cosmetics are having a major moment. Not only do they feel great when applied to skin, but with the growing awareness of toxic ingredients like formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, petroleum bases, parabens, and hormone-disrupting fragrances, people are demanding healthful options more now than ever.
NATURAL OR NOT One of the major problems many new customers face when searching for so-called natural skincare, is that the meaning of the word ‘natural’ is very broad. It often portrays an idealisation of the product rather than hold any truth. For example, a cream might contain ‘natural herbal extracts’, and yet still include a raft of other synthetic chemicals which make up 95 per cent of the ingredients. If buying truly natural skincare is of utmost importance, you’ll want full transparency around exactly what’s in that jar.
Upon the inception of natural skincare, the ingredients used were mainly whole plant extracts – things like rosehip, sweet almond and carrot seed oils were easily recognisable on product labels. However, the advancement of technology and growth of the natural skincare industry makes it harder to establish if what you’re purchasing is derived from natural ingredients.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? Everything is made of chemical compounds – even water – but many chemicals contained in skincare are derived from plants, and then isolated in a lab. These are still natural but may have longer, scientific names like capric triglyceride or sodium stearoyl glutamate. How is one meant to tell the difference between an isolated chemical derived from something natural, and a synthetic chemical derived from petroleum? Selecting natural skincare is certainly a minefield.
GOOD FOR YOU HealthPost created their Good Ingredients Promise in 2018, to remove the guesswork customers’ face when trying to make a natural, healthy and ethical choice. Their Red List contains ingredients plus any processes that may have negative impacts on human or environmental health. Any products therefore must not contain any ingredients on this list and must meet a number of specific natural, environmental and ethical standards.
GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT Ingredients aside, many natural skincare companies are starting to employ environmental considerations to their packaging. This goes far beyond only the packaging being recyclable – what footprint does it have? Consumers nowadays demand to know where their products come from, and what trace they leave behind. Such values will be specific to each person, but the general consensus is a desire for improved natural skincare packaging options, that are better for the environment and don’t leave a lasting impact, while still protecting the precious contents within.
SELF CARE On the same vein lie personal care items, with their environmental impact being just as tenuous as the former. It’s astonishing to ponder the number of plastic toothbrushes that sit in landfill if everyone on the planet disposes of four plastic toothbrushes per year. With options like bamboo toothbrushes, refillable dental floss, menstrual cups, and compostable packaging, it’s great to see positive steps being taken to reduce waste or the use of plastic. If you want to make changes in your own bathroom cabinet but are feeling a bit overwhelmed, start by making one change at a time – even the simplest swap-out could make a massive difference.
BEAUTY FROM WITHIN With any beauty regimen, it’s important to remember that external appearance reflects internal health. Think of the body holistically – we should all form an understanding the importance of clean and abundant water, consuming plenty colourful vegetables high in antioxidants, as well as sources of protein to assist normal detoxification and collagen formation.
The body should be eliminating waste well so that the pores stay clear, which places emphasis on the health of the digestive tract, kidneys, and liver, achieved through good diet and lifestyle measures. Supplementing with the right nutrients also helps – think plenty of collagen, antioxidants, Vitamins A, C, E, zinc, essential fatty acids, fibre, and biotin.
Whatever additions you make to your natural beauty regimen, they should help clear, refine, plump, and smooth your naturally beautiful canvas.
Our Natural Skincare Picks:
Whether you’re looking for cruelty-free, organic or environmentally-friendly skincare, our large selection of truly natural and Good Ingredients Promise approved products are sure to please.
VEGAN & CRUELTY FREE
The importance of cruelty-free skincare has been a point hammered home in recent years, but with it comes a rise of vegan products that are completely free from animal derivatives.
NEW ZEALAND MANUFACTURED New Zealand has a reputation for producing high-quality products that are highly regarded on a global scale. These natural personal and skincare products are lovingly made in our own backyard.
Shop online for these natural beauty products and more on our secure website.
Author: Liz McNamara is the Natural Health Expert at HealthPost and has over 16 years of experience in natural health. As a Registered Naturopath and the President of the Naturopaths & Medical Herbalists of New Zealand (NMHNZ), Liz is passionate about health education and helping others to lead naturally healthy lives.
In these turbulent times it’s important to take care of ourselves, and in turn one another. Our inner critic sometimes feels overwhelming and more “in control” than we might like, perpetuating a whirlwind of emotions. So how can we manage these negative thought patterns?
At The Kindness Institute – which teaches our youth mindfulness and yoga to support them in dealing with stressful emotions, anxiety and low self-efficacy – they refer to a system very similar to the popular mindfulness technique, the simple acronym R.A.I.N. Originally coined by Michele McDonald around 20 years ago and more recently popularised by Tara Brach, the easy-to-remember process offers a gentle approach to deal with negative or stressful emotions.
This can be carried out in everyday occurrences or as a meditation, so is best thought of as an ongoing practice.
The steps are as follows:
Recognise what is most predominant – e.g. a feeling, an irritation
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
Investigate it with kindness and compassion
Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience
R – Recognise what’s going on. If you’re experiencing a negative thought or emotion, one way of connecting to that is through mindfulness, which is paying attention to the present moment without fear or judgement. There are many types of meditation and one method encouraged at The Kindness Institute is to name the emotion or feeling e.g. fear, anger, anxiety, sadness, nervousness. By naming it we find power by not letting it override us, we can identify the feeling and truly recognise what that feeling is. Rather than suppress or ignore it, we recognise and acknowledge it.
A – Allow the experience to be there. Whether it’s unpleasant or otherwise, rather than pushing the feeling away or finding distraction or comparison, we can simply accept the feeling or sensation, as it is, without any desire to change it or any judgement on why we’re feeling that way. This can help us to learn that whatever we’re experiencing is safe.
I – Investigate it with kindness and compassion. The Kindness Institute explores this step by looking at how the feeling affects you, and observing physical sensations is a great way to start. Simple investigations and observations can really help, such as the feeling of numbness, tingling in the hands, clenched teeth, nauseous stomach. These can then be related back to the feeling, connecting the mental experience with a bodily sensation, and deepening the awareness.
New neural pathways can be developed through ongoing practice – by allowing ourselves to embrace what is, how it is, and not necessarily how we want it to be. This over time allows us to tune into our feelings much faster and understand how we might adapt our response to an experience, rather than letting the experience determine our reaction.
N – natural loving awareness. By embracing loving awareness or compassion, we can have a feeling or thought without being it. By not identifying with the experience we start to develop an approach that can be used throughout our life. We cannot control the negative or horrible things that may happen in life but we can control how we respond to them.
Self-compassion can take many shapes, a few deep breaths, a reminder to yourself that you’re doing the best you can, and that’s enough.
Every time we employ this mindfulness technique and are willing to slow down, to recognise our patterns of judgement, to notice the feeling of anxiety or hurt – we are moving towards a more positive presence.
Whether this becomes part of your daily practice or something you try out, R.A.I.N is a practice for meeting our negative thoughts with love and self-compassion.
Have you tried mindfulness? What has your experience been like? Let us know in the comments below!
Our digestive system works as an amazing biological machine. Essentially, it’s a long, highly adapted tube, running from our mouth to exit sphincter. Different sections are adapted for:
Breakdown of food
Absorption of nutrients
Excretion of waste
There are many ways we can support the health of this self-regulating system. This includes self-care methods, including good lifestyle choices and plant-based supplements to support our health. It’s also important to listen to the signals our body gives us, but what signs should we be looking out for?
4 Signs of a Healthy Gut1. Softness of stool & passing without straining
We’re all different when it comes to frequency of bowel emptying. Normal can be anything from several times per week, up to several times per day.
Taking a fibre supplement is one way to support healthy bowels. Look for ingredients such as:
Guar gum – supports bowel frequency
Psyllium husk powder – helps maintain regularity
Flaxseed flour – is a rich source of fibre (as well as prebiotics and mucilage)
Rice fibre – can support comfortable motions that pass with ease
Apple Powder – contains pectin to support healthy transit time
Drinking enough water is also essential, especially when taking a fibre supplement. Aim for at least 2 litres of water daily.
2. A happy microbiome community
Regular bowel motions, good mood and immune health can all indicate a happy microbiome.
With a population of over 1 trillion, the microbiome is a community of bacteria that colonize the bowel. Some are friendly, upstanding citizens, like Bifido and Lactobacilli. Whilst others can sometimes develop an ‘attitude problem.’ Achieving balance is key here.
Inulin, from the chicory plant, is a Fructo-oligosaccharide (pronounced ‘frook toe-oli go sack a ride’)
This prebiotic fibre stimulates the growth and activity of Bifido and Lactobacilli.
Slippery Elm, Aloe Vera and Flaxseed are also prebiotics that supports the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria.
Beware that sugar, alcohol, and stress can lead to dysfunctional microbiome community.
3. A healthy abdomen, without the bloat.
Bloating can be associated with both physical and social discomfort. It’s usually due to excess gas production, or gas that has become ‘trapped’ within the gastrointestinal system.
Peppermint and Ginger are both herbs which can help with discomfort and bloating, and can be used to calm the digestive system. Fibre can also help to manage bloating, by supporting healthy and regular gut motility.
Mindful eating helps you to slow down, recognise hunger cues, notice the effect food has on your senses, and ultimately benefits your digestion. Start by chewing your food thoroughly and eating slowly while sitting down without any distractions such as the TV or your phone. Focus on how the food feels, smells, and any other sensations you may notice, and stop eating once you begin to feel full. The more you’re able to practice mindful eating, the easier it will become.
4. A soothed, comfortable tummy
Most would agree, this is probably the most important sign of good digestive health. We all have a special layer of mucus that protects our gut lining from damage. Mucilage (‘me you sill age’) from plants can help support and nourish this gut lining. Some herbs which have this effect include:
Slippery elm bark powder – helps soothe discomfort, for a soothed throat and tummy
Aloe Vera powder – contains mucilage to maintain comfort
Ginger root powder – can help with stomach upsets and discomfort.
It’s important to have any unexplained changes or abnormalities checked by a doctor. It may not be serious, but if it is, early detection can influence outcomes. When in doubt, check it out.
Vitus Pure Plant Sourced Digestive contains the plant-based ingredients including Aloe Vera, Slippery elm and Psyllium Husk to support digestive health, bowel regularity, healthy microflora and a comfortable tummy. Shop online now.